France was the best of the eight teams in Barcelona on Sunday, taking home the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final. With a total of eight penalties the French riders could climb to the top of the podium, with Friday’s winning team Brazil in second position on a nine penalty score and Ireland in third on twelve penalties. With all the eight teams starting off on a zero score after Friday’s first qualifying round it was bound to be a thriller, and it was indeed exciting to the very last rider had been in the ring – and the course made it even more so with only four of the riders in the final clearing the track.
France’s Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express HDC (Quick Star x Le Tot de Semilly) opened with a four fault round for their team – after having the back pole on the triple bar in the combination at 8a down. As France’s second rider Aymerick De Ponnat and the lovely Armitages Boy (Armitage x Feo) put France back on the map though as the pair posted a tremendous clear round – and helping their team to leading position after all of the teams’ second riders had been in the ring.
As their third rider Simon Delestre had one down as the front pole of the oxer at nine fell to the ground, and when Brazil and Ashford Farm’s Marlon Zanotelli produced a flawless round on Clouwni only to record a time fault – just like in Friday’s first round – it became very exciting for the full house that watched. With Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa and Citizenguard Cadjanine Z (Canabis Z x Feinschnitt I) on a four penalty score and Eduardo Menezes on twelve faults riding Calavda (Calvaro Z x Quilot Z), the pressure was really on the two teams’ anchor riders Penelope Leprevost and Alvaro de Miranda.
Going clear would mean that Penelope would secure the victory for France on Nayana (Royal Feu x Narcos II), but that was not to be as the first vertical fell to the ground. Penelope retired as she could do nothing about her team’s final results, and France was left on an eight penalty score overall.
The result also left the door open for the Irish boys, who with a clear round from Twomey could end up on the same overall score as France. Cameron Hanley on Antello Z (Animo x Continue), Denis Lynch on Allstar 5 (No Limit x Chellano Z) and Shane Breen on Balloon (Balou de Rouet x Landcapitol) all had a fence down each in addition to a time penalty for Hanley, and it was all down to Twomey. Like many of their competitors the two saw the plank following the water coming down though, and Ireland had to sum their score up to twelve penalties overall.
Both Belgium and Holland could in theory join Ireland on the same result, if their anchor riders produced clears. Nicola Philippaerts had one down for Belgium though to eventually put them fifth, but Jeroen Dubbeldam delivered an incredible and beautiful clear round on Utascha SFN (Lux Z x Indoctro). With a time that overall was farctions slower than Ireland’s, the Dutch guys had to settle for fourth though.
A clear from last to go Alvaro de Miranda would mean victory for Brazil at a score of five penalties, and the door was wide open as he entered the ring on AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno (Baloubet du Rouet x Elanville). Luck was not on Doda’s side though and the vertical out of the combination at 8b came down – leaving the Brazilian team at a score of nine penalties and to silver position with Ireland behind them in third.
The track in today’s final proved a real challenge, and most of the faults appeared on the plank following the water where the riders chose a distance of five or six strides – sometimes coming to close or other times too far off the plank to push it out of the cups. The other heartbreaker of the track was the triple combination, where one third of the competitors had faults – especially the two huge and wide oxers as the b- and c-element proved difficult as the riders came to the end of the course. The only two other riders to produce clears in addition to De Ponnat and Dubbeldam, were Canada’s Eric Lamaze riding Powerplay (Casall x Limbus) and Scott Brash on Ursula (Ahorn x Papageno). Eric Lamaze and Scott Brash got to share a 200,000 euro bonus having scored clears on Friday and today.
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